Chances are if you own a Nintendo Switch, you've heard about Monster Hunter Rise, the latest installment in Capcom's venerable action RPG series. It's a series that is notoriously hostile and impenetrable to new players, relying heavily on baked in knowledge and extensive wikis to fill in the gaps. However, we here at TechRaptor do our best to make sure new players have a handle on the basics before getting into a new series. If you're a total newbie to Monster Hunter or want to know how much things have changed, we have you covered here.
Monster Hunter Rise Guide For Beginners – Exploring, Scavenging, and Pacing
Chances are if you're interested in Monster Hunter, you have some general idea of how a regular hunt goes. You and up to three friends are tasked with tracking down a giant monster, usually an armored version of a giant animal or a type of dragon with some sort of ridiculous power. You start mashing buttons to get in flashy and chaotic real-time battles until one of you stays down. You carve the monster for body parts to make better gear so you can fight something worse. Rinse and repeat until you're fighting something on the level of Godzilla.
But Monster Hunter Rise is a decidedly different beast when further examined. Everything from general gameplay feel to the surprisingly deep rabbithole of systems and mechanics on display can easily overwhelm. This is where the guide will mostly be focusing, since text and video can only do so much with a game that is more skill-based than other RPGs. Think of this as an extremely long cheatsheet.
First, some broad tips for complete newcomers. Number one: Do not rush a hunt. At first glace, it's easy to assume that Monster Hunter is just another action game where it's all about fast-paced combos and amazing devastating attacks that kill monsters instantly. Trust me, if you go in thinking like that, you will be tossed around like a ragdoll and burn out fast. Every single hunt in this game needs to be treated like a boss fight. These are marathons, not sprints.
Next, pay attention to how each monster moves. Monster Hunter's big claim to fame is its complex creature animation and how it's used to give each monster personality. It's how the game communicates the various states they are in since they have no health or status bars. In addition to seeing their various movement animations and attack patterns, they'll pant and salivate if they're exhausted, and limp if they're close to dead. Better yet, some monsters have their own preferred biomes to where they try to eat or sleep to recover from attack. For example, an Arzuros will head to rivers to fish or beehives to chow down on honey, which you could potentially use for ambushes or traps. There are dozens of monsters with quirks and behaviors like this, something that could be a guide in of itself, but half of the fun of Monster Hunter is observing them and figuring it out for yourself.
This dedication to realistic movement even relates to where you hit a monster. Aiming for the legs or feet can trip up a monster, leaving them open for punishing blows. Various body parts can even be broken or sliced off, limiting the kind of attacks they can do while giving you additional loot at the end of the hunt. If it looks important on the body, try to break it.
If you're still having trouble against tougher beasties, there is a simple pro tip that will do wonders: eat before every hunt. There's a restaurant counter in the starting village that serves Bunny Dangos, which are different flavored dumplings. You can order specific combinations that boost your damage and defense as well as give you perks for your hunt. These can range from getting more items from farmable resource spots to increased defense. Just go down a mental checklist every single time you start another hunt. Accept a new mission, check your inventory for supplies, eat a Bunny Dango, depart, hunt, win.
Finally, scavenge the environment and fool around with the crafting system. Scavenging in Monster Hunter is extremely important, since raw materials are used in everything from item crafting to weapon upgrades. Much like the monsters themselves, these resources pop up in natural zones at a reliable rate so get into the habit of marking where locations pop up and farm like mad. There is some RNG that determines what you get, and certain materials can only be obtained in High-Rank areas, essentially Monster Hunter Rise's endgame content, so be prepared for a lot of grinding. Kill smaller monsters and carve them up for Warm Pelts and raw meat. Keep mining and hope to get some precious Icium ore. Keep digging through bone piles for more Twisted Bones. If your storage box isn't full to bursting with hundreds, if not thousands, of generic crafting material and a small handful of rare ones, you better fix that.
Believe it or not, exploration can give you some major advantages in your hunts as well. Finding different swarms of insects or glowbugs while traveling can give you powerful buffs to your attack, defense, and stamina, which can help in a pinch. Furthermore, there is natural wildlife that you can weaponize. Picking up and using an escuregot will drop a healing area of effect for more drawn out fights. Hitting a bombadger towards a monster is great if you need an improvised bomb. But best of all there are special toads you can pick up which can poison, paralyze, and even tie down monsters, leaving them open for punishment. Do not be afraid of breaking off the fight to look around and stock up, it can save you a lot of headaches.
But if you're having trouble looking for some obscure material or farmable spot I just have two words: look up. One of the newest additions to Monster Hunter Rise is the wirebug, which allows you to leap great distances and run up walls. Because of this, the environments are built with a lot of verticality in mind. If you see a string of dragonflies near a wall, start climbing that wall, there's a good chance you'll find some precious resources up there. In fact, some hunters will just go on expeditions, essentially free roam mode, and do nothing but farm these areas just so they're good to go. It's not a bad habit and it'll be good for you long term.
This is because you can craft more advanced tools to help out. While there is an auto-craft system in the game where you'll make potions and antidotes from herbs you pick up, you can also craft elaborate tools at your item box. These range between Ancient and Max potions which permanently increase your maximum health for a hunt, to practical utility items like flashbangs and pit traps. There is an entire rabbithole of crucial items to make here, especially if you want to make different kinds of ammo for the bow and bowgun weapons.
As for absolute must-have items, I have some suggestions. The first is honey. You can get honey from beehives and they should be easy to spot in forest areas. Collect this as much as you can, overstuff if you have to. In addition to it mixing with your potions to make stronger mega potions, it is a crucial component for more advanced item crafting. If you think you have enough honey, you're wrong. The second are trap tools. These can be bought from a vendor and are relatively cheap.
Monster Hunter Rise Guide For Beginners – Weapons and Armor
Next, find a weapon you like and practice. During the tutorial for Monster Hunter Rise, you are given a basic Long Sword before throwing you into a practice hunt. There is nothing wrong with the Long Sword weapon, it was my barrier to entry when I got into the series after all, but what the game doesn't tell you is that you have starting versions of every single weapon type in the game right off the bat. Go to your item box, select “Manage Equipment” then select your Long Sword. Then pick a weapon from the box that seems interesting and try it out.
There are fourteen different weapon types in Monster Hunter. Each and every single one of them has their own combos and special mechanics. It's a lot to take in but there are different levels of complexity that can help you get acquainted with them.
First are the very straightforward starting weapons. Great Sword and Hammer are exactly what they sound like. They're both large weapons that are all about extremely slow and powerful strikes. Great Sword attacks can be charged up during their wind up for a bigger smack but leave you wide open. The Hammer can stun and daze monsters if you keep hitting them in the face, and can break off armored parts that most bladed weapons bounce off of.
If you're more fond of slashing weapons and speed the Long Sword and Dual Blades might be more your style. The Long Sword is all about long sweeping strikes, which build up a special attack bar. You can then hit ZR to spend that bar on a super attack that can cut through armored parts while doing solid damage. The Dual Blades are all about getting close to a monster's side then slicing away like a human buzzsaw. Like the Long Sword, attacks build up a special attack bar, but hitting ZR puts you into Demon Mode, a berserker state where you get a huge damage boost but burn through stamina quickly. Be careful here so you aren't left defenseless from a monster attack.
If you wish to play more defensively, there are weapons built with shields. The aptly named Sword and Shield is exactly what it sounds like and manages to be a solid jack-of-all-trades, plus it's the only weapon in the game that lets you use items without sheathing it. On the tankier end of the spectrum is the Lance and Gunlance respectively. Put your shield up, block the monster's assault, then poke and blast away.
On the more complex side are buff and support weapons. The Hunting Horn is essentially a Bard's answer to a hammer. In addition to smacking around monsters, every single combo you do is tied to a song that can buff and boost you and your allies. The Switch Axe is a giant axe that can switch into a sword charged with status effects like poison, paralysis, or sleep. Then there's the Charge Blade, a shielded weapon that can combine in a superpowerful maul. Sidebar, it is also one of the most complex weapons in the game since it runs on elemental phials that punish you if you just mindless button mash, so know there is a steep learning curve. Then there is the Insect Glaive, a quickslashing polearm that can throw out a large flying insect at monsters. Hitting different body parts will grant you different movement and damage buffs. Get the right buffs fast enough and you'll be a force of nature.
Finally, there are the ranged weapons if you'd rather hunt from a distance. The Bow uses different elemental coatings which can poison or stun monsters, as well as fire piercing arrows. As for the Light and Heavy Bowgun, they're basically firearms. There are a plethora of different ammo types with their own utility such as wyvern and rapid. Just know that you will need to load up on ammo before every single hunt; preparation is key. The difference between the two is that the Heavy Bowgun has a larger clip size and is geared towards raw damage while the Light Bowgun can shoot support buffs at allies and leave tripwire mines for quick and easy traps.
There really isn't a wrong choice in any of these weapons, and it is totally okay if one of them isn't your style. If you need a safe space to practice, there is a special arena in the game just for you. Go to the Buddy Plaza, if you have trouble finding it just hold “-” on the controller and fast travel there, and look for a small boat tucked in the corner. From there you'll be teleported to a large practice room with a dummy in the middle and targets for ranged weapons. Figure out your combos and ammo combinations here safely.
The last big thing to keep in mind is armor. Unlike other RPGs out there, Monster Hunter doesn't have experience points or leveling. This is because all unique powers and abilities are tied to weapons and armor. You want better defense against fire or ice damage? Craft armor. Do you want a higher chance to do critical hits or gain immunity to a monster's loud screams stunning you? Craft and wear an armor piece with the Critical Eye and Earplugs perk respectively. This is where most of your money and resources will be going, and much like weapon types a build mostly comes down to personal preference. But if I had to give some early game tips, keep an eye out for armor with perks like Evade Window and Constitution, which should help your defense.
Furthermore, do not upgrade early armor with armor spheres, it is much better to just craft better armor with more diverse stats than just improve what you have on. Armor upgrading is usually saved for late-game progression when you already have an established build.
Believe it or not, this is still barely scratching the surface of what Monster Hunter Rise has to offer. We haven't even got into the weeds about the game's buddy system, the best builds for different weapons, the ins and outs of the wirebug and associated Switch Skills, or even dedicated guides to beating certain monsters. But if you're just getting started, hopefully you're better off than where you were before. Happy hunting.